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Wednesday, April 30, 2014: Title-winning coach's demotion is now a firing

   Leading off today: "Somewhat awkward" has disintegrated into "very awkward" in near-record time at Burke Catholic.

   Less than two months after being demoted from head coach to defensive coordinator, Ed Van Curen has told The Times Herald-Record he was dismissed from the football staff on Monday. In the aftermath of Van Curen's firing, special-teams coach Chuck Lappe resigned on Tuesday.

   Keep in mind, this a program that won the Section 9 Class C championship last fall.

   Van Curen, who was replaced as head coach by Kevin Ross after going 32-17 in five seasons, was let go in a meeting with AD Adam Kless and principal John Dolan. Ross, Kless and Dolan didn't return calls from the paper seeking comment.

   "Adam and Mr. Dolan told me that coach Ross does not want me on staff any longer," Van Curen told the paper. "They said coach Ross feels that the bond I have with the alumni and players is too strong. He couldn't coach with me on the same staff. If he had an issue, I wish we could have spoken about it."

   Asked if he was upset that Ross didn't go to him with his concerns, Van Curen said: "At the end of the day, he is the head football coach. Would I have handled things differently? I would have."

   Said Lappe: "I don't really want to speak about what happened, but Ed was in that program for 13 years. In fairness to coach Ross, he can pick his own assistants."

   Career-achievement milestone: Canastota's Andy Pino recorded his 1,000th coaching win this week when his team defeated Cincinnatus, Cooperstown and Sherburne-Earlville in a quadrangular, The Post-Standard reported. Pino has coached the girls track team for 30 years, boys track eight years and girls cross country 27 years. It's added up to a coaching record of 1,000-48.

   "Guess it shows that I'm an old guy too," Pino said. "There are so many people that have been involved to make this possible and I've been blessed to have the privilege to coach outstanding student-athletes and being assisted by outstanding, loyal coaches."

   Longtime golf coach dies: Gene Hedrickson, who coached golf a Adirondack for 38 years before retiring in 2010, died Saturday at the age of 72, The Post-Standard reported.

   Hedrickson's teams won 10 league titles and several players won individual league titles.

   "He has had a huge impact in our local community and will greatly be missed," Adirondack golf coach Nicolas Palczak said. "I took over the golf program three years ago and every single coach I talked to knew Gene, commented on what a great coach he was, and what a true gentlemen he was."

  
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   Coming Thursday: Steve Grandin has completed work on the all-state team for boys basketball, and we will be revealing the selections here at 3 p.m. Thursday.

   Random thought: All things considered, schools in most regions of the state squeezed in more baseball and softball games than I would have expected based on what the weather looked like for much of April. Based on forecasts, though, we're in for more small-craft advisories than infield-fly calls on diamonds through at least the middle of next week.

   Getting together: Cambridge and Salem will merge their varsity football programs for the upcoming season following approval from the respective school boards last week.

   With enrollment numbers for upperclassmen low, Salem was at risk of not being able to field a varsity next fall, The Post-Star reported.

   "Everybody wants the program, the money is in the budget," interim Salem Superintendent Tom McGowan said at a board of education meeting. "It's really just the numbers. We don't have enough numbers for the program."

   Salem finished last season with 18 varsity players, going 5-4 and losing in the Section 2 Class D semifinals to Cambridge 58-24. Two of the Generals' losses were forfeits necessitated by a shortage of players.

   The combined team will play in Class D.

   Cambridge Superintendent Vincent Canini said it wouldn't be fair for those boys who have been playing football for many years not to be able to do so for their senior season.


  
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